Filing a Personal Injury Claim in South Dakota
When you are injured or lose a loved one because of someone else’s careless, negligent, or wrongful actions, you have the right to file a personal injury claim and seek financial compensation for your losses. At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, we understand that taking legal action after a serious accident or injury can be daunting, which is why our firm is here to help you through every stage of the process.
We follow a team-based approach when it comes to investigating claims, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing our clients at trial—when you choose Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, you don’t just get one attorney working on your case; you get an entire legal team dedicated to you and your recovery.
When you are facing a legal matter, you need a team that is not only focused on your success, but that is also committed to providing honest & trustworthy legal counsel.
When you hire one attorney at our firm, you get our full team. Rather than just one set of eyes and knowledge on your case, you have decades of experience advocating on your behalf.
The Beardsley, Jensen & Lee team is willing and able to take your case to trial, but they are also the best equipped to get you the highest settlement and result.
Over 100 Years of Experience
Our team of dedicated attorneys has over 100 years of knowledge and experience to put on your side.
Determining If You Have Grounds for a Personal Injury Case
Not every injury serves as grounds for a personal injury case—some are truly the result of unpreventable, blameless accidents. Most accidents, however, result from the careless or reckless conduct of others. To bring a personal injury case under the legal theory of negligence (which is most often the case), you must prove that someone else acted negligently or wrongfully.
Specifically, you must prove the following four elements:
- Duty of Care: The first step in bringing a personal injury claim is proving that another person/party owed you a duty of care. Essentially, this means that they had a legal responsibility to act reasonably and avoid causing you injury or harm.
- Breach: Next, you must establish that the other person or party that owed you the duty of care failed to uphold it. The breach of the duty of care is typically where the negligent or wrongful act becomes relevant in most personal injury cases.
- Causation: Another critical element in a successful personal injury claim, you must prove causation. In other words, you must prove that the breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of your injuries and/or damages.
- Damages: Lastly, you can only bring a personal injury claim for damages if you can prove that you did, in fact, suffer damages. “Damages” refers to any economic and/or non-economic losses you suffered due to the breach of the duty of care.
Some cases, such as certain product liability cases, fall under the legal theory of strict liability. In contrast to negligence-based cases, you do not need to prove that anyone acted carelessly, recklessly, or wrongfully to bring a personal injury claim on strict liability grounds.
It’s important to know that when it comes to personal injury claims, injury victims have a set amount of time to file before they lose their right to do so. This law is called the statute of limitations.
According to the South Dakota Codified Laws Section 15-2-14, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in the state of South Dakota is three years. This means you have three years from the date your injury occurred to file, or you will risk losing your right to along with your right to pursue compensation.
There are, however, exceptions that can either shorten or extend this time limit, so it’s crucial you speak to an experienced Rapid City personal injury attorney about the specifics of your claim as soon as you can.
The statute of limitations has a big impact on your ability to file a claim so don’t wait to speak to an experienced attorney. Beardsley, Jensen & Lee offer free, no-obligation consultations so you have nothing to lose by contacting our firm today!
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Personal Injury Claim?
The purpose of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit is to seek financial compensation for your associated losses, referred to as “damages.” These damages can be economic or non-economic, meaning they can have a specific dollar value, or they can be more intangible in nature.
Some common damages people recover in personal injury claims include:
- Medical bills
- Hospital and ambulance fees
- Medication and medical equipment costs
- Future medical costs
- Lost income/wages
- Future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Disability/lost earning capacity
- Lost quality of life
Every case is different, and the specific details of your situation will determine which damages you may be entitled to recover. To learn more about the potential value of your case, we recommend that you contact our Rapid City personal injury lawyers and request a free initial consultation.
What Injuries Are Common in Personal Injury Cases?
Personal injury cases come in all shapes and sizes, and they involve many different types of injuries. Some of the most common injuries seen in personal injury cases include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A TBI is a type of head injury that can be caused by an accident or violent event and often results in long-term physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries involve damage to the spine or nerves in the spinal column and can lead to paralysis, chronic pain, loss of movement, and even death.
- Broken Bones/Fractures: Fractures occur when a bone is broken due to force or impact from an accident, which can cause severe pain and require extensive treatment for recovery.
- Internal Injuries/Organ Damage: Internal organ damage may result from blunt force trauma sustained during an accident and typically requires emergency medical care as well as ongoing treatment if complications arise.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries are internal wounds that affect muscles and tendons without involving bones; they may include sprains, strains, whiplash syndrome, contusions (bruises), etc., but all generally involve swelling at the site of the injury along with associated discomfort or mobility issues depending on severity level.
- Burns: Burns are common in car accidents where airbags deploy, house fires and explosions. Severe burns can be life-altering and require emergency medical care, along with a lengthy recovery process.
How Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
A personal injury attorney has the knowledge and expertise to guide victims through the legal process of pursuing financial compensation for their losses. This includes conducting a thorough investigation into the incident, gathering evidence that proves negligence, negotiating with insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement, representing clients at trial if necessary, and navigating any other complexities that may arise throughout the case.
An experienced personal injury attorney will also be well-versed in state laws and any local regulations that might apply to specific cases. Additionally, they can provide guidance on how long it typically takes for a claim to be processed and what type of financial compensation is likely to be recovered based on unique circumstances.f
By having an understanding of all the legal nuances surrounding personal injury claims, a lawyer can help ensure victims receive fair compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
Furthermore, an experienced attorney can provide emotional support during this difficult time by offering professional advice and advocating on behalf of injured parties both in court and out. When filing a personal injury claim with the help of a qualified attorney, individuals have greater chances of receiving the maximum amount for their injuries—something they could not do on their own.
When to Get a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you are injured in an accident that was caused by another person or party, it is important to get legal help as soon as possible. There are statutes of limitations in South Dakota, so do not wait too long to consult with a personal injury lawyer near you—the sooner you hire counsel, the better your chances will be of recovering damages for your losses.
At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, our team has more than 70 years of combined legal experience and can provide knowledgeable representation both inside and outside the courtroom. We have successfully prosecuted thousands of personal injury cases on behalf of clients throughout Rapid City and all across South Dakota. If you need assistance filing a personal injury claim, please don’t hesitate to contact us today
How Beardsley, Jensen & Lee Can Help
Getting back on your feet after an unexpected accident or serious injury can be extremely difficult. At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, our goal is to help you navigate the legal process and recover the maximum compensation you are owed. You should not have to suffer the devastating, life-altering consequences of someone else’s negligence on your own, and we can help you fight for the justice you deserve.
We represent clients in and around Rapid City in a variety of personal injury matters, including cases involving:
- Car accidents
- Catastrophic injuries
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability
- Wrongful death
We also represent injured workers with all aspects of workers’ compensation, from filing initial claims to appealing denials of benefits.
We offer free initial consultations and contingency fees for all personal injury matters. This means you do not owe any upfront or out-of-pocket expenses, and our attorneys are only paid if they recover compensation for you.
Q:Do I really need a personal injury lawyer?
A:There is no law requiring you to hire a lawyer after suffering an injury, however it is usually in your best interests to do so. In a perfect world, the responsible party’s insurance company would pay you for the full value of your losses up to the limits of your policy without any sort of pushback. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Personal injury claims are complex and must be proven with strong evidence. An attorney who understands the legal system can help you level the playing field, avoid costly errors, and maximize your chances of securing the compensation you deserve.
Q:How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in South Dakota?
A:Most personal injury lawsuits in South Dakota are subject to a three-year statute of limitations, meaning you typically have until the third anniversary of the accident or incident that caused you harm. If your accident or injury case involves the potential liability of a government agency or employee, this deadline is shortened to one year. If you attempt to file a lawsuit in court after the statute of limitations has expired, your case will almost certainly be dismissed and you will effectively lose your ability to recover compensation. Since complying with the statute of limitations can make or break your claim, it is urgent you act quickly and get an attorney involved early on in your case.
Q:I’m partially at fault for my injuries. Do I still have a case?
A:Potentially, yes. South Dakota operates under a “comparative fault” system for handling cases in which an injured person shares some blame for the accident or injury. If you are found to be partially liable, the amount of compensation you recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are injured and suffer $100,000 worth of damages but are found to be 30% at fault, you would still be eligible to recover $70,000 (or $100,000 less 30%).
Q:How can I afford a personal injury attorney?
A:Nobody should be denied quality legal representation after a sudden accident or injury due to their inability to pay. At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, we accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no costs to you unless we are successful in handling your case. This ensures our interests are aligned with yours and allows you to focus on your physical recovery with peace of mind.